The same things that kept the Avalanche out of the playoffs in three of the last four 82-game seasons will keep them out in a 48-game season, if its play in the season opener is a barometer. Bad penalties and ineffective penalty killing have been issues for the Avs in recent years, and they certainly were in Saturday night's lockout-shortened NHL season opener against Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center. A terrific first period was wiped out by undisciplined penalties, and the Wild took advantage on the power play in a 4-2 win. Two penalties taken within seconds of each other by Avs winger Steve Downie — a trip of Wild defender Jared Spurgeon, followed by a cross-check well after the play — gave Minnesota a four-minute power-play advantage at 6:22 of the second period. The Avs to that point were in a 1-1 game. They led 1-0 after the first on newcomer John Mitchell's first-period goal, a period in which Colorado outshot Minnesota 12-5 and probably should have led by multiple goals. "We had the kind of start we hoped for," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "We played a simple game and got it behind their defense and could have had a 3-0 lead. But we hit a post and didn't cash in on our power play chances. And the penalties in the second changed the momentum of the game." Wild veteran Dany Heatley tied the game with a rebound putback goal at 3:26, his first of two goals for the night. The first took place not long after Downie took a cross-checking minor on Kyle Brodziak. The Wild took the lead at 4:19 when Mikael Granlund was credited with a deflected goal after a shot from the point.
Avs begin season with 4-2 loss to Minnesota Wild
Denver Post | Jan 20